Causes and Treatment of Dog Vomiting


" Dog vomiting has multiple causes such as people food, something your pet swallowed, parasites, stomach illnesses or an imbalance in electrolytes. Several diseases can also cause canine vomiting due to a buildup of toxins in the blood. All of these result in gastritis, a condition that refers to stomach inflammation. Treatment depends on the cause of the condition and can include dietary change or medication. The most common cause is the eating of spoiled, raw or non-food items. If a dog vomits one time and appears fine, then home treatment makes sense. When treating at home, follow the directions below. Do not provide anything by mouth (food and water) until the patient has stopped vomiting for several hours and is feeling better.  Providing anything by mouth too soon while the patient is still vomiting can cause more vomiting.  If a dog is vomiting 3x or more in an hour or has other symptoms such as those in the list below, then consult with a veterinarian as soon as possible. The prognosis for acute or sudden vomiting is good. The prognosis for chronic conditions depend on the underlying cause."

Video: Causes of Dog Vomiting

Normal and serious causes of dog vomiting.


There are multiple causes of vomiting in dogs. These include:

  • Dietary problems
    • Food allergies
    •  Sensitivities to an ingredient in your dog's diet
    • Overeating
    • Eating Spoiled food
    • Table scraps or human food
    • Ingesting Foreign items (cat litter, plants)
    • Eating Raw Food

      Dog's That Eat Spoiled or Raw Food When Outdoors Can Cause Vomiting

    • Ingested dog hair
    • Parasites: vomiting due to parasites can be determined with a stool sample
    • Electrolyte (chemical) imbalance: An electrolyte imbalance can cause vomiting, or it may be caused by dehydration due to vomiting. Your vet can test for an electrolyte imbalance with a  blood test.
    • Stomach ulcers (caused by skin mast cell cancer or medications such as aspirin)
    • Stomach cancer
    • Uremia (signs of dog kidney failure)
    • Forceful cough
    • Foreign object wrapped around the tongue (e.g; a piece of string)
    • Toxins or such as lead poisoning
    • Medications: Antibiotics or NSAIDs that are prescribed as antiinflammatories can cause vomiting in dogs by causing ulcers or gastritis
    • Grass

    • When a Dog Eats Grass, It Can Make A Dog Vomit. Some Experts Believe That Dogs Eat Grass To Relieve An Upset Stomach (3)

    Diseases and Vomiting Dogs

    There are several disease that have dog vomiting as a symptom. These include:

    • : in cases of canine pancreatitis vomiting will appear suddenly and will be sever. Dogs may suffer from a pancreatic tumor or suffering from the problem due to the consumption of garbage.
    • : If the kidneys are not functioning properly due to toxins such as poisoning, one result could be vomiting. At first, vomit dog frequency is occasional. As the kidney disease progresses dog vomiting becomes more frequent. Other symptoms include frequent urination and drinking. It can take years or months for the disease to develop.
    • : A female dog that has not been spayed can develop an infection in the uterus. The dog will lick vaginal discharge or pus causing a dog to vomit. This infection also causes increased urination and drinking
    • : Liver disease in dogs can cause a vomit dog problem. Other symptoms include increased urination, drinking, yellow skin tone where there is no fur(jaundice) and possibly canine seizures.
    • Dog Bladder Blockage: If the bladder ruptures or is blocked it can trigger vomiting. Accompanying symptoms include painful urination and stomach pain.
    • Ketoacidosis: This is a type of diabetes that can result in vomiting. Other symptoms include frequent urination, increased thirst and depression.
    • : hormonal problems cause vomiting. Other symptoms include weakness and diarrhea.
    • Inner canine ear problems: Inner ear illnesses can result in vomit dog problems. This includes motion sickness.
    • Illnesses that occur due to vaccines that do not take hold: vomiting can be caused by diseases such as parvovirus and distemper.
    • Mastocytosis: too many mast cells in the dog's body
    • Inflammatory bowel disease
    • Stomach ulcers
    • Infection (bacterial or fungal)


Dogs vomit a variety of things and ways. It may be undigested dog food or partially digested, unidentifiable matter. It may be mostly liquid. It may have various colors. Take note of what the vomit looks like and if there are any other symptoms such as diarrhea. If you take your dog to the vet, he or she will want to know that information.

If your dog vomits once or twice, there is usually no reason to run to the vet. If your dog vomits multiple times, however, and seems unable to keep anything down, including fluids, a trip to the vet is warranted.

What To Do If A Dog Vomits Blood

An exception is if your dog appears to be a mix of dog vomit and blood ,then see a vet. The cause is either temporary such as if your dog ate something he or she shouldn't which is causing irritating to the gastrointestinal tract or something systemic where there is a problem with the gastrointestinal tract that requires a thorough examination.

Signs of Dehydration

There are two easy ways to check for dog dehydration:

  1. Run a finger along the space between your lips and gums. Do the same with your dog. If your dog's gums feel dry and not wet like yours, then your pet may be suffering from dehydration.
  2. The other method is called tenting. Pull the skin gently up along the pets neck in one spot to form a temporary tent. The skin should pull back into position in 2 seconds or less. If it does not, then the dog may be dehydrated.
If you aren't sure, or suspect that your dog is dehydrated, immediate veterinarian attention is needed. Dog can go days not eating, the same isn't true for water, they need to always stay hydrated.

Symptoms That Call For a Trip to The Veterinarian

  • Puppy vomiting
  • Vomiting in an older dog
  • Signs of dehydration
  • Suspected
  • If you suspect your dog swallowed an object or toy
  • Blood in the vomit
  • Vomiting combined with behavior change such as lethargy (tiredness)
  • Vomiting 3x or more in an hour
  • Vomiting that lasts for more than 1 day
  • Inability to keep down water
  • Projectile (violent) vomiting
Symptoms Associated with Disease

There are several signs and symptoms that indicating that an underlying disease is causing the canine vomiting problem.  These symptoms include:
  • Excessive urination (polyuria)
  • Excessive thirst (polydypsia)
  • Enlarged liver (hepatomegaly)
  • Cataracts
  • Jaundice
  • Fluid accumulation in the abdomen (ascites)
  • Fever
  • Slow heart rate (bradycardia)
  • Mouth ulcers
  • Pale mucous membranes
  • Presence of a mass in the abdomen


Your veterinarian will check to see if your dog is running a fever. They will then palpate your dog's abdomen to check the internal organs. He or she may do an x-ray to make sure your dog has not swallowed any foreign objects.  For chronic cases (vomiting 7 or more days), a biopsy of cells from the digestive tract may be required for a definitive diagnosis. Other tests include blood tests and urinalysis.

Dog With Ecophagitis

Dog Esophagitis Can Cause Regurgitation, A Condition Often Confused with Vomit Dog Problems (2)

Dog Regurgitation vs. Vomiting

It can be helpful to bring a dog vomit sample to the veterinarian's office. This will help the vet differentiate vomiting from regurgitation, which to the owner can appear to be vomiting, although it is a different process in the body. Regurgitation is caused by food that is expelled by problems in the esophagus. Regurgitated food appears to be undigested, possibly covered with mucus and may have a shape as if it came out of a tube. Don't be surprised if a dog tries to eat regurgitated food. A weakening of the muscles that control the esophagus is called megaesophagus. This condition can result in food entering the airways causing symptoms such as cough and/or pneumonia. Regurgitation occurs right after eating where vomiting will occur at random times.

Symptoms associated with dog vomiting are frequent swallowing, salivation and depression. You will see an abdominal contraction prior to the dog vomiting.

It Is Important To Differentiate Regurgitation from Vomiting Before Reaching a Diagnosis. A veterinarian can distinguish the two with a clinical examination and medical history.  (2)

Dog Vomiting Treatment

Home Treatment for a Vomiting Dog

If your dog is taking any medications consult your veterinarian before starting home treatment to see if the medications should be temporarily stopped. To
  • Step 1: withhold Food And Water For 2 Hours
    If your dog has been unable to keep food down, you should withhold food AND water for 2 hours. This will enable the digestive system to rebalance itself and rest.  Feeding too soon is one of the most common causes of continuation of stomach problems, even if a dog appears hungry.

  • Step 2: Provide Water After Several Hours (2 or more)  If The Patient Has Stopped Vomiting and is Feeling Better
    After 2 hours provide water or an electrolyte solution such as Pedialyte (found in every pharmacy) in the quantity of 1 cup per 40 pounds of dog body weight, every 2 to 3 hours, all day and night. Over the 12 hour period, continue to increase the amount of water offered. If the patient has not stopped vomiting, wait several hours. Feeding or drinking too soon can initiate more vomiting.

    If dog vomiting after drinking water continues, then withhold water or pedialyte for 1 hour. After they hour provide ice chips and see if you dog can hold them down.  If vomiting continues, consult your veterinarian.

  • Step 3: Feed A Bland Diet, Then Regular Diet
    After twelve hours with no vomit dog problems, offer a bland diet to your dog. Introduce small amounts of food at a time until you see that your dog is able to tolerate the food. As a general guideline, offer 1/2 cup of food for every 50 pounds of dog body weight. For example, a 20 pound dog would receive 1/4 cup of food. If the patient vomits after the first feeding, then wait an hour before trying again.

    If the dog vomiting continues, consult with a veterinarian. Over the next 3 days, continue to feed your dog a mix of the bland food and regular diet, slowly increasing the amount of regular food. By the 4th day the dog can resume a normal diet.

If bouts of vomiting continue and if the problem is attributed to a sensitive stomach, then a special diet such as those offered by Hill's Science Diet or Iams might be required.

Treatment By A Veterinarian

Treatment in the Vets office will focus on addressing immediate problems such as dehydration and to determine the underlying cause of the problem. At the same time, the Vet will examine the patient and take a medical and dietary history.

If your dog is dehydrated your vet will administer subcutaneous fluids. This is similar to an IV, except instead of a needle going into a vein, the needle just goes under your pet's skin. You'll see a bulge there for a bit until the fluid is fully absorbed. After the patient has any immediate needs addressed, causes such as parasites or disease will be treated. 

Chronic Vomiting

Vomiting that continues for 7 or more days is considered a chronic condition. If this is the case, the veterinarian will need to explore the many possible diseases and causes.  Sometimes a simple solution such as a change in diet for 3 to 4 weeks will correct the problem. Commonly a dog that eats human food or ingesting a foreign object when outdoors is the cause.   There are also many that result in a problem.

Dog Bland Diet Preparation (1)

There are several options for preparing a bland dog diet. For all recipes, provide 1 cup of food per 40 pounds of dog body weight. These include:

  • Human Baby Food: Mix together:
    • 1 part baby beef, turkey or lamb
    • 2 parts boiled white rice
    • For vomiting and dog diarrhea, add 1 teaspoon of yogurt with active yeast cultures

  • Chicken and Rice:
    • Prepare boiled skinless chicken breast
    • Cut into small cubes
    • Add 2 parts boiled white rice to 1 part chicken (total 1 cup per 40 pounds of dog body weight)
    • For vomiting and dog diarrhea, add 1 teaspoon of yogurt with active yeast cultures

  • Hamburger and Rice:
    • 1 part hamburger (drain the fat before serving)
    • Add 2 parts boiled white rice
    • For vomiting and dog diarrhea, add 1 teaspoon of yogurt with active yeast cultures

  • Cottage Cheese and Rice:
    • 1 part low fat cottage cheese
    • Add 2 parts boiled white rice
    • For vomiting and dog diarrhea, add 1 teaspoon of yogurt with active yeast cultures

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(1) Bethlehem Veterinary Hospital

(2) Regurgitation or Vomiting?
Gallagher, Alex; DVM, MS, DACVIM, University of Florida

(3) Perdue School of Veterinary Medicine

Chronic Vomiting in Dogs and Cats: A Practical Diagnostic Approach
Leib, Michael S, ACVIM

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